Portugal is making its abortion laws stricter by adopting a bill that makes women pay to end their pregnancies. They’ll also be required to get psychological and social counseling and advice on family planning before a termination. During a heated session of Parliament on Wednesday, the current center-right coalition government backed the new rules, which are strongly opposed by opposition lawmakers and prompted shouts of “Shame! Shame!” from women’s rights activists in the gallery. Carlos Abreu Amorim, a member of the governing Social Democrats (PSD), argued that the changes were “not a question of removing the right to abortion, but to improve the conditions in which women take these difficult decisions.” A member of the opposition, Greens MP Heloisa Apolonia, said that “the final session of the legislature was exploited … to humiliate Portuguese women.” The legal right to an abortion paid for by the state up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy was approved by a referendum in 2007, but has remained a thorny subject in the majority Catholic country, facing vocal opposition from the Church.
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